With Infiniti’s refreshed 2016 Q50 sport sedan set to go on sale early this year with a range of new turbocharged engines, the brand is poised to begin a march toward joining what it calls the “top tier” of premium automakers with the 2017 Q60 coupe it revealed this week at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
In presenting the car to global media at a January 10 press conference, Renault-Nissan Alliance chairman Carlos Ghosn threw out words like “bold,” and “daring,” adjectives we’re used to hearing automakers use when getting set to launch a new performance model. We’re not so sure they’re the words we’d use, but we could call the car’s appearance–which shares much with the Q50 sedan–appealing, with just enough ties to the outgoing second-generation model (which began as the G37 coupe) to make it recognizable as an Infiniti. The Q60 rides on the same 2,850-mm wheelbase as the Q50, but is 100 mm shorter tip-to-tail, at 4,683 mm, sports a roofline chopped 58 mm (1,385 mm), and stands 26 mm wider, at 1,850 mm.
But it’s what’s under the hood that truly brings the Q60 in line with current performance coupe trends: like the latest version of its sedan counterpart, the Q60 will use a trio of turbocharged engines that includes a 2.0L four-cylinder, and a 3.0L V6 available in two states of tune.
The four-cylinder comes to Infiniti through a partnership with Mercedes-Benz. It’s the same engine that powers the QX30 subcompact crossover (itself a platform-mate to the Benz CLA- and GLA-Class cars), it makes 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and our first on-paper impression is that horsepower figure leaves Infiniti at a disadvantage next to the BMW 428i and forthcoming Lexus RC 200t, both of which get about 240 hp from their two-litres. Not to mention Mercedes massages the same engine for 350-plus hp in the AMG versions of its little cars.
In any event, the motor gives Infiniti a true entry-level powertrain that will appeal to drivers more interested in this car’s sharp looks than boasting about power numbers.
Things get real in 3.0L versions of the car. The base tune brings 300 hp and 295 lb-ft, but it’s the top-tune 400 hp/350 lb-ft version that will pique the interest of stoplight drag racers, who will also delight in knowing this motor is part of the same Nissan VR engine family to which the GT-R’s 3.8L twin-turbo V6 belongs. Nissan calls the VR30 “the most advanced V6 engine Infiniti has ever offered.”
As is the way of all things turbocharged nowadays, the use of forced induction was dictated by Infiniti’s efforts to reduce fuel consumption, which it says its engineers achieved through the use of common technology like direct fuel injection, electric water pumps (the 300-hp version has one, the 400-hp motor a pair, for more effective cooling), and an electric motor to operate the variable valve timing system. The end result, says Infiniti, is a 6.7 percent boost in efficiency (though compared to what, the company doesn’t specify). The V6 also used air-to-water intercooling to control the temperature of intake air, and turbine speed sensor built into the turbochargers to spin faster “than ever before for a turbocharged V6 power unit.” It’s that speed sensor tech Infiniti says helped it hit the 400-hp threshold with this motor.